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Santhera Says It Discontinued Discussions With Newron

Santhera Pharmaceuticals Holding AG ended talks with Newron Pharmaceuticals SpA, the Italian drugmaker developing a Parkinson’s disease treatment with Merck KGaA.

Santhera, based in Liestal, Switzerland, didn’t comment further in the one-sentence statement release after the Swiss stock market closed.

Newron, which has a market value of 48.7 million Swiss francs ($51.6 million), was in negotiations to sell itself to Santhera, a person with knowledge of the situation said Jan. 24. A combination would have brought together two companies that had lost two-thirds of their market value in the past year.

Santhera said Jan. 25 it had a “high-level dialogue” with Bresso, Italy-based Newron, which also confirmed the talks.

Newron, which is listed on the Swiss stock exchange, plunged in May after saying the experimental painkiller ralfinamide was no better than a placebo in helping patients with back pain. The same month, Santhera sank after its Catena drug failed in a study against Friedreich’s ataxia, a rare inherited disease that damages the nervous system.

Newron fell 35 centimes, or 5 percent, to 6.70 francs at the 5:30 p.m. close of trading in Zurich. Santhera, which issued its statement after the market closed, rose 11 centimes, or 1.3 percent, to close at 8.80 francs.

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